2012 Environment & Energy Policy Statement
Click HERE for a printable PDF of the 2012 Georgia Chamber Environment & Energy Policy Statement.
Energy Policy --The Georgia Chamber of Commerce recognizes that access to sustainable, reliable and affordable energy is a major issue facing this country. The Chamber is uniquely positioned to help educate federal and state policy leaders and elected officials on energy policy issues and to advocate for an appropriate plan geared towards creating a balanced, sustainable solution to our energy needs.
The Chamber supports:
- a commitment to implementing a comprehensive state energy plan with protection of Georgia’s environment and use of its natural resources as key elements;
- voluntary efforts to optimize energy efficiency and demand-side management in government and business that will lead to long-term and sustainable energy stewardship practices;
- domestic offshore oil and gas exploration while remaining diligent in protecting estuarine and marine habitats;
- shifting consumption away from a dependency on fuels sourced outside of North America to a more balanced and competitively-priced energy portfolio of fuels available in Georgia and the United States, including nuclear energy, solar, geothermal, hydro, wind, natural gas, continued use of coal in an environmentally responsible manner, biomass from our forests, and other renewable alternatives such as fuels produced efficiently by a new generation of agricultural crops and new energy technologies;
- creation of additional broad-based tax incentives for energy development and infrastructure, including retrofitting and conversion of vehicles for use of alternative fuels;
- significant investment in new infrastructure and enhancements to existing infrastructure that will meet our supply needs in an environmentally-sensitive manner -- part of this effort should be a streamlined path for siting and permitting new infrastructure facilities; and
- public data sources that track energy usage and conservation practices, and scientific measures that monitor the benefit/impact of business and consumer actions on our environment.
Based upon the current energy debate in Congress, the Chamber opposes:
- a renewable portfolio standard that creates economic imbalance nationally, regionally or for Georgia;
- policies that are not based on sound science or current data or existing technology for effective implementation; and
- efficiency standards that do not recognize and reward the efforts of early adopters.
Water Policy -- Following the 2008 adoption of the Georgia Comprehensive Statewide Water Management Plan by the Georgia General Assembly, efforts continue at the state Environmental Protection Division and the ten Regional Water Planning Councils to implement the Plan. As part of those efforts, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce continues to support implementation of a statewide water plan that:
- relies on sound science on water quality and surface and groundwater availability and usage and current population and business and employment growth projections;
- supports current and future community and economic growth across the state;
- allows for continued use of effectively-managed interbasin transfers;
- promotes many of the conservation practices outlined in the Georgia Water Stewardship Act of 2010 (SB-370);
- stimulates investment in new reservoirs, infrastructure refurbishment and water efficiency technologies, including public, private partnerships where appropriate;
- encourages innovation in and the adoption of new technologies and management practices that enhance sustainable water resource management across all industry sectors and the wider community;
- creates an environment that enables Georgia to become a national and global leader in water resource management; and
- is fully funded.
EPD Permit Fees -- The prolonged economic recession has resulted in significant staff and state appropriations reductions at EPD. These reductions present a challenge for EPD’s efforts to timely review permit applications or perform site inspections. These functions are critical for the continued economic growth of Georgia.
Accordingly, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce supports consideration of the creation of an application and permit fee structure at EPD that is competitive with other states and ensures necessary and timely execution of application reviews and site inspections.
Sustainability -- Sustainability is a complex global challenge that is capturing the attention of business and community leaders around the world and is being driven by numerous socio-economic megatrends such as: global population growth, food production, access to and management of water and natural resources, recycling and solid waste management.
Sustainability encapsulates business strategies that focus on economic, social and environmental outcomes – the Triple Bottom Line benefit -- and is an emerging element of business competitiveness, now being reflected across internal management strategies and wider supply chain and industry relationships.
The Georgia Chamber supports and promotes voluntary initiatives to incorporate sustainability principles and practices into business operations in a manner that:
- enhances business efficiency, competiveness and profitability;
- achieves better understanding and measurement of business processes and operations;
- stimulates technological and process innovation;
- demonstrates business stewardship of resource management;
- delivers measurable Triple Bottom Line (TBL) outcomes; and
- promotes community development.